How The Radeon OpenGL Performance Has Evolved From The HD 2900XT To RX Vega
Our Vega GPU benchmarks didn't stop after yesterday's Radeon RX Vega Linux review or open vs. closed driver comparison. This morning for your viewing pleasure is a fun comparison looking at how the Radeon RX Vega 56 and RX Vega 64 compare to several generations of the older Radeon graphics cards going back to the HD 2900XT (R600) graphics processor.
The graphics cards I freshly benchmarked for this article based upon the cards I had available and were still working included the Radeon HD 2900XT, HD 4870, HD 4890, HD 6870, HD 6950, HD 7950, R9 290, RX 480, R9 Fury, and then the new RX Vega 56 and 64 models.
This comparison can't easily be achieved on Windows due to the older cards being pushed off onto a different "legacy" driver path, which isn't the case under Linux with the open-source drivers. All of these graphics cards from the R600 and RV770 to Vega were tested with the amd-staging-4.12 Linux 4.12 kernel paired with Mesa 17.3-dev built against LLVM 6.0 SVN. The mainline Linux kernel and Mesa continue going back to supporting hardware on the R600 Gallium3D driver and even older with the R300 Gallium3D driver still being semi-maintained within the Mesa source tree.
As well, thanks to OpenGL not breaking compatibility, I found a range of interesting tests at 1080p that could still run on the old Radeon HD 2000/4000 series hardware while would still show scaling up through the Radeon RX Vega 64 and not too vRAM demanding on the oldest GPUs.
All of these graphics cards were tested with the Core i7 7740X system running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with the Linux 4.12 amd-staging kernel, Unity 7.4 desktop, Mesa 17.3-dev via the Padoka PPA, and the rest were stock packages. All of these OpenGL Linux benchmarks on the 11 AMD graphics cards were facilitated in an automated manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.
Besides looking at the raw graphics performance, the performance-per-Watt was also tracked via the Phoronix Test Suite with interfacing via the WattsUp Pro to record the AC system power consumption in an automated manner.